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The Line Becomes a River

Dispatches from the Border
Narrated by: Francisco Cantú
Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (411 ratings)
Regular price: $24.50
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Publisher's Summary

Named a Top 10 book of 2018 by NPR and The Washington Post.

Short-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Excellence.

Finalist for the National Book Critic Circle's John Leonard Prize.

The instant New York Times best seller

"A must-read for anyone who thinks 'build a wall' is the answer to anything." (Esquire)

For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Driven to understand the hard realities of the landscape he loves, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. 

Plagued by a growing awareness of his complicity in a dehumanizing enterprise, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the full extent of the violence it wreaks, on both sides of the line.

©2018 Francisco Cantú (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Cantú's story, and intelligent and humane perspective, should mortify anyone who ever thought building a wall might improve our lot. He advocates for clarity and compassion in place of xenophobia and uninformed rhetoric. His words are emotionally true and his literary sensibility uplifting." (Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams and Of Wolves and Men )

"This book tells the hard poetry of the desert heart. If you think you know about immigration and the border, you will see there is much to learn. And you will be moved by its unexpected music." (Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil's Highway)

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Such a powerful message

I don't know what the answers are, but this book begs for answers for this painful, angry subject. more people in power need to see these people as people, not things to be dealt with.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Better than expected,; No "Politics"

I believe illegal entry into the country needs to stop. I support a wall or what ever changes allow us to process and document knowingly those who enter.
I also believe the way we conduct border policy favors criminals and hurts the kind of people we need to make citizens.
This story is a personal, informed account demonstrating the troubles with our border policy and how those issues directly affect good people in the wrong way.
Clearly we have policy issues. There must be changes to make it reasonable to keep the right kinds of people in this country while keeping the bad out.
Loved the candor of this book..

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Vista a dos mundos

A well written book that is a must read for dreamers, and really anyone who in not Native American, because we all came from somewhere else. This book is only a small glimpse at a very complex and complicated problem. Immigration. Our elected government must not continue to ignore this problem as it grows with the passage of time. Thank you Mr.Cantu for sharing your experience, for choosing to remain a member of a human race with a heart and a conscience and to your mother for raising the man you have become. Gracias

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A necessary read, I am thankful for

Where do I start?
Every minute of this audio book was powerful.

It is a raw, honest, and heartfelt view of the boarder. It is so eye opening and highlights the humanitarian crisis that happens daily.

I am in tears, of joy and hope.

I am happy people like Francisco exist and share there powerful story.

He put a name, a familiar story to people that cross our boarders.

These stories matter, their names matter.

They are all of us, we are all connected and this book will wake you up and make you realize that.

So thankful I heard him on NPR and found this book.

I am making everyone I know read it. Listen to it .

It is necessary!!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Honest

Unfortunately the author is not as good of a narrator as he is a writer. His monotone was a little hard to take, especially when you’ve become accustomed to Audible’s great narrators. I know this book took a lot of flack from both sides of the immigration debate. I don’t agree with everything the author did, but I liked the balance he provided. I appreciated the fact he was honest even about things he regrets. He talked about being a border patrol agent, how you’re trained and what you see. And he talked about a friendship with an illegal immigrant that was deported and how he was personally touched by what happened. I disagree with the long road to legal citizenship. I disagree with separating families. I’m pro immigration. But I also believe it’s important to see things in a balanced way. And I appreciated the effort of the author to do so.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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found it very interesting

What did you love best about The Line Becomes a River?

I appreciated and enjoyed the inclusion of border history/formation with his modern day story. thanks.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Pertinent Story

This first hand account from the perspective of a former border patrol officer is disturbing and touching. It sheds light on the true challenges faced in regulating the border - both physical and mental.

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Brilliant, Raw, Powerful

Francisco Cantu is one of the best contemporary writers. Anyone who has an opinion about the border, or immigration, needs to read this book. It is a beautifully written, morally eviscerating masterpiece.

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Very touching and emotional

A very moving story. Powerful message to those who mistakenly believe immigrants are bad people. As a latina I immediately identify myself with both characters, Francisco and José. As a mother, I also identify with Francisco's mother and Lupe. As sad as I felt for everyone in the story, and as sad as I still feel for all people who are denied a better life, I highly recommend this book.

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Excellent listen!

Great book! Narrator was listenable. Very informative. I will recommend to anyone who seeks knowledge and understanding about the border of U.S. and Mexico.... and then some.